ENNIS — As the Ennis Mustangs enter the state quarterfinals in 8-Man football, for them and the town, it’s signaled a change from the last few seasons.
For one, they’re winning sitting at 8-1 as they get set to play the top seed from the West, St. Ignatius.
“This year, we've really been working because it's my senior year and I want to win and we've been doing pretty well,” senior Nicholas Johnson stated.
Another change is how much the town of Ennis has rallied around their team and it was on full display in a gritty 19-6 win against Chinook last Saturday in the first round of playoffs..
“That game as well there [was] a lot of energy,” Head Coach Michael Speck commented. “That's one thing that's changed this year as far as Ennis, lot of fans, it's loud on the sideline.”
How did Ennis football get here in 2022? Well for starters it should be noted that Ennis football history knows success with their most recent state title back in 2016 and the one before that in 2013 with semifinal appearances in that time range. The last few years though, they lost their way, this year though appears to be a resurgence of the mighty Mustangs having only suffered one loss all season and it was in week five to the defending 8-man champions, Drummond-Philipsburg.
“It’s a boost in the confidence when you go up against teams like that and always win,” Johnson said.
“They've won the state championship for (four of) the last five years so that was our Super Bowl and that's what we were working for,” Speck echoed.
That game may have been their Super Bowl but if you ask any coach the most important game is always the next one and the next one at undefeated St. Ignatius is a tall order; one that Ennis is excited for and confident going in.
“The driving factor is we know we can do it,” Speck said. “We know we can win a playoff game and we know we can we can compete with anybody in the state when we can be within two scores to Flint Creek and had a shot at winning the game.”
“I think that they're a really good team and I think we're a really good team too. I think that we could give them a run for their money and I'm hoping we can go out there and shock the state,” Johnson stated.
Kickoff in St. Ignatius set for 1 p.m.